Creativity and crafting

Reflecting on my recent blogs made me realise that I haven’t written about the crafting, quilting and creative communities for a while. When I arrived, I was lucky enough to be introduced to a few key women. Natalie was pivotal in my entry into the crafting world. I didn’t know then, because she is a very quiet, shows humility but is an immensely creative woman, that she ran the annual craft exhibition for years. She knew all of the key players and was able to point me to them.

I should at this point explain that the island telephone directory is tiny and Natalie could find everyone she needed in a few minutes. It became my  bible and probably the book thats brought me most joy, and some amazing new friends.

People used to think of  Crafting  to be the realm of middle aged women or as Kaffe Fassett suggests isolated younger women. He was a bit ruder actually and suggested it was fat women who crafted. In my case thats true but it still hurt. I now know that crafting attracts a vast array of women and men of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicity. Its both trendy and nerdy and its fashionable, faddy and can be boring. I love the new skills I learnt whilst in the Falkland Islands. Thanks to the following people:

Wendy for teaching me new quilt patters and for showing me how to create pictures from fabric. Her joy, enthusiasm, energy and sheer determination to get things done or finished was truly inspirational. She is a good friend who is generous with her time and skill.

Sue for teaching me how to finish some of my knitting projects. She is the most significant knitter I ever met. She can knit almost anything and can knock up a hat in a couple of hours. I tried new things under her guidance and supervision. I learnt to weave – I’m not good but I enjoyed it and will do it again in London. I learnt about dying wool and about the different types of wool. She is awesome and a good friend.

Bonnie for teaching me how to wet felt. I love this complex yet simple skill which creates some amazing products. The blue bag with pink flowers sits happily on a door hook in my sewing room and eventually I will get round to hanging my first piece. I wish I’d done more with Bonnie, but will definitely be taking it up again in London. Bonnie was amazing and I enjoyed learning about the Falkland Islands and seeing them through her eyes.

Andi for teaching me how to allow my creative artist to peak out. To be clear, I am not an artist and never will be. I have been thrown out of beginners drawing classes for being too much of a challenge so when Andi gave me permission to do anything I wanted it seemed right to start with the simplest thing possible. Paint my lips and kiss a placemat. That done I eventually progressed to jugs, teapots and an array of smaller items. I loved having fun with paints and will treasure the items I painted should they ever make it back from the Falkland Islands.

Rosemary, last but definitely not least who taught me how to embellish and to knit her special pattern. I love the various items I made things like wall hangings and small notions which could be used in jewellery. I learnt how to enjoy creating using scraps of material or wool. She shared her workshop, knowledge and time and her stories. She gave me the impetus to create a new character for a book and we shared a scary stormy night on her beautiful islands. I have great memories and I think of her as a friend even though we only spent a short while together. I hope she will like the character I create and will enjoy the book she has helped to inspire.

Nikki for sharing her vast sewing knowledge and for letting me share the ritual of making the Mayball sash. Nikki has little time to craft as she runs a key business on the islands but she still found time to show me her amazing heritage quilt. She showed me how to use a few buttons and wire to make a gift that I would certainly value. She shared her knowledge of cooking and of the islands and she will hopefully visit me in the UK sometime soon. She also introduced me to other amazing women including Zhanna who felts awesome pictures.

Heather shared knowledge, experience, and passion for all things crafty. She learns, she teaches, she stores, she shares. She is the type of person who can do anything she turns her hand to. She introduced me to so many people and she worked with me on some projects. I loved my time with her and feel sure we will catch up again soon.

Myra must be mentioned because of her watercolours but as I said I cant draw and I definitely cant paint so all I could do was admire and enjoy her work. Its a real privilege to meet and spend time with Myra, hopefully I’ll do it again soon.

There are so many people in the islands who do the most fabulous crafting. Julie with her jewellery, photography, soaps and and and. Silvia and Steve and their awesome jewellery collection, not to mention Steve’s sculptures. Jo who makes beautiful purses, broaches and bags. I particularly like her notions which are left around the islands on special days. Its amazing to come across a heart someone has made for you to find and keep.

Crafting is not cheap and you sometimes need a fair bit of kit so I must mention Tansey who provides wondrous stock for everyone to peruse and purchase. Sew What was my regular Saturday hangout.

When I travelled to the islands I had no idea I would be able to learn so much. Its a real privilege to have time, space and the money to do crafting.

Finally, I am most indebted to my husband for having the courage to take us away from our routine to explore and take a risk on venturing 8000 miles away from our ‘normal’ lives.

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